In 1983, Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant released the documentary film “Style Wars” to PBS, the world’s first in-depth look into the breakthrough hip-hop culture that had taken over New York City. The film was an immediate critical success, winning numerous awards and inspiring generations of filmmakers who would come after it.
The movie follows a handful of graffiti writers in NYC as they tag walls, battle rival gangs, and strive to create something beautiful out of their hard lives. It also offers a unique insight into the birth of hip-hop as a distinct art form, featuring interviews with early pioneers such as Grandmaster Flash and an exploration of the breakdancing scene taking hold on its streets. While the city’s authorities condemned it, Style Wars showed how hip-hop was about far more than just vandalism — it provided a platform for young people to express themselves and build something positive from their struggles.
Style Wars provides an engaging look at what life was like in NYC during the 80s. Through compelling footage and interviews with key figures of the time, it captures an era when hip-hop was just beginning to take shape and street art filled entire boroughs with creativity and vibrancy.
If you’re looking for an inspiring story that celebrates self expression through music, dance and visual art while exploring societal issues such as poverty and racial inequality then you should definitely watch Style Wars. This timeless documentary will not only leave you with an understanding of why hip-hop has become so popular but also make you appreciate that each generation has its own rebellious style which is just as valid today as it was back then.